Heading into the second year of the CDL, what are the biggest storylines to look for to?
The CDL 2021 Kick-Off Classic begins Saturday, January 23, and the weekend full of exhibition matches promises to give us a glimpse at the upcoming season, and what the players and teams have to offer.
Clayster versus the Empire
After being the undisputed best team in the game during the Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare season, James “Clayster” Eubanks was, unfortunately, the victim of competitive switching back from five-on-five to four-on-four. The Dallas Empire decided to stick with veteran Ian “Crimsix” Porter over Clayster during the offseason. This left Clayster without a home and without a doubt the pick of the litter when it came to potential teams, given his experience as three-time world champion. However, surprisingly Clayster decided to pick New York Subliners as his new home for the Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War season.
Early on in the season, this seems to be a questionable decision, if early scrim results are anything to go by, with the Subliners struggling to even beat their academy team. As well as this, given the recent new of Thomas “Zoomaa” Paparatto’s retirement just before the start of the season, it would appear the odds are stacked against Clayster and his team in the show match against Dallas Empire. Although, if history has taught Call Of Duty fans one thing, it should be to never underestimate Clayster when his back is against the wall.
Skrapz after revenge
Since being dropped by the London Royal Ravens, Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall has been very outspoken over his release from the team on social media. Until a few weeks ago it seemed that Skrapz wouldn’t even make it into the league completely, which would definitely have come as a shock to many people, given his status in the last few years as one of the best players to come out of Europe.
Although, after the announcement that he would be part of the newly revamped Paris Legion roster that fans are unsure what to expect of, Skrapz will once again have to prove to the community why he should be regarded as an elite player in the CDL. He will get his chance to do this at the weekend against former team Royal Ravens, being able to prove the doubters wrong and most importantly show to his former teammates that they were wrong to drop him.
Battle of the fan favourites
Without a doubt, the most highly anticipated game of the weekend is the battle between Los Angeles Thieves and OpTic Chicago. After forming his Call Of Duty team (OpTic) during the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 season, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, the former captain had eagerly anticipated the matchup against the team he helped to popularise. The matches during that season didn’t disappoint, and with 100 Thieves beating OpTic at the biggest tournament of the year, Call Of Duty World Championships many fans were excited to see potentially a historic rivalry.
However, after opting out of a spot in the inaugural season of the CDL, fans were left wanting more from the two organisations. Now, a year down the line following 100 Thieves' purchase of the LA CDL franchise spot and Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez reacquiring the naming rights to the OpTic Gaming brand the rivalry has now been reborn in the league. With both teams seemingly having potential title-winning rosters, the two biggest brands in Call Of Duty should be looking to put on a show for fans in what many expect to be a clash of titans.
Can FaZe show out for the fans?
In what is potentially a sleeper for the best series of the weekend, Atlanta FaZe against Florida Mutineers matches two teams against each other that both won multiple home series events last season and were both recognised as the number one team at some point throughout the year. With Atlanta acquiring all-star AR player Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson from Chicago to join the already stacked roster of Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris, Chris “Simp” Lehr, and McArthur “Cellium” Jovel, FaZe once again look like a roster to be reckoned with throughout the 2021 season.
As well as this, in the early stages of the Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War season, it appears that the Florida Mutineers roster that added Josiah “Slacked” Berry during the offseason and it would appear to have been a smart pickup for the team if scrim results are anything to go by.
Ultimately, whilst this weekend's matches are merely show matches, and don’t hold any weight on the league standing heading into the first homestand in February, it will definitely be a great way to start the year; with a mix of revenge matchups and potential rivalries beginning for years to come. Fans will eagerly anticipate the start of a new competitive season and the league has certainly not disappointed with the lineup of matches that are on offer this weekend.
Images via Activision | Nadeshot